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Growing old, one cardigan at a time
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Kick and scream all you want, but most of you are going to grow old. Many of you are going to grow very old, and a few of you low-cholesterol types might even reach a state known as "ancient." Growing old will change everything. You’ll discover the beauty of cafeterias, vitamin supplements and polyester sweatpants; you’ll learn how to clean dentures with those little fizzy tablets and how to shiver when August 2 rolls around; and you’ll find satisfaction in a good nap, a tepid cup of decaf coffee and a two-for-one cardigan sale. Aging and growing old will snag the best of us, the worst of us, and all of us who hang around long enough to see the closing credits.

So, what can you do about this "growing old" situation? Well, technically… nothing. Science is researching ways to drastically slow the aging process, but until Vince Evans sells a pill for it in his drugstore, I’m not going to believe a word of it. You get one shot at each of your ages: exactly one year to be 18, one to be 32, one to be 45, and so on. You have to stay awake during each of those years, live the year to its fullest, and then say goodbye to that one and hello to the next. How well have you done on that count? I spent the prior year wishing it was over and the economy was better and I didn’t weigh so much and… and then I realized that I’d just spent a year like a drunk who was spilling his last bottle of rye whiskey, unaware that the bar was closing and his wallet was empty. You can’t do that. Whether you woke up with a headache or a broken heart, you still woke up. You must live your day.

The secret to aging gracefully is two-fold. First, accept it as a given. You can’t control it, stop it, or delay it. Aging is reality. The second secret is to do to aging what manufacturers are doing to laundry detergent — concentrate it. Some of you will spend 30 years in a job and walk away with an acute sense of a wasted life. Others might spend one year in Africa and change a small part of the world. Don’t measure your life in years; measure it in impact. Oh, yeah. Make sure you take a good multivitamin too. And button up that cardigan.


David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, can be reached at